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Thread: Coffee troubles (weak)

  1. #1
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    Coffee troubles (weak)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there, first time poster long time viewer.

    I recently acquired (well my family) a 6910 Espresso machine and have been practicing creating coffees. However, after sorting through assorted problems associated with learning to coffee, I seem to have hit a roadblock... my coffee is weak. The pressure gauge goes all the way to top of the optimum section which we figured was a grinding problem, however even when a shot comes out, and after battling with frothing the milk, the taste is still very weak. Im sure some of the strength comes from the bean, however coffees made at my work are ten times stronger with just the one shot.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Chris.

  2. #2
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Hey Chris,

    What beans you using? What you grinding with? Might help to sort out the problemo! And I guess also, what size cups/glasses are you using?

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Im using Vittoria espresso coffee and a small Phillips grinder. I understand that this isnt the best grinder however we have managed to get the coffee fairly fine and when used with plunged coffee it delivers a pretty strong flavour. Do the grinders make a big difference in strength?

    EDIT: Ooops, the cup we use is a 300 mL cup.

  4. #4
    mwatt
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Hmm ... Im going to guess the beans might be at least part of the prob. Chances are theyre past their peak. Try to get hold of some locally roasted beans that have been roasted in the last three weeks or so. Good luck!

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Whereabouts does one acquire locally roasted beans? Im really new to the whole serious about coffee thing. My mum always bought Gloria Jeans coffee *:-/

    Also, the cafe where I work in is delivered shipments of Mocador 1kg bags which cant be the freshest of coffees however it delivers a bang from just one shot. I guess the bean could be making a bigger difference than I thought. Was just thinking it might have been my technique or stamping incorrectly.

  6. #6
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Hi Chris,

    I am assuming you are using the double basket for 300ml? You want to get about 50-60ml from the double for the 300ml. My preference is 250ml with doubles for that extra wired feeling ;)

    Grab a bag of Brown Bay Espresso WOW (5 thumbs up) and have a really good go then or there is a few other sponsors who roast as well.

  7. #7
    mwatt
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Quote Originally Posted by bugsy2126 link=1226966810/0#4 date=1226970388
    Whereabouts does one acquire locally roasted beans? Im really new to the whole serious about coffee thing.

    Was just thinking it might have been my technique or stamping incorrectly.
    Whereabouts are you located? As bf said - you can try any of the sponsors over there, or someone might know somewhere closer to home ;)



    ... Oh, and just quietly, I think you mean tamping :D
    Hope your coffee journey just gets better and better!

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Quote Originally Posted by bugsy2126 link=1226966810/0#2 date=1226970055
    Im using Vittoria espresso coffee and a small Phillips grinder. I understand that this isnt the best grinder however we have managed to get the coffee fairly fine and when used with plunged coffee it delivers a pretty strong flavour. Do the grinders make a big difference in strength?

    EDIT: Ooops, the cup we use is a 300 mL cup.
    Hey Chris,
    Yeah youve got a few things working against you there mate.... well pretty much everything you mentioned haha, sorry man. Like Michelle said, your Vittoria is probably stale already, the phillips grinder Im not familiar with it... Im guessing its got a few blades that spin around real quick.... how much it costs usually gives you a fair indication of grind quality. I think the going minimum is the Sunbeam EMO480 at rrp $199. Theres grinding fine, and grinding fine. Espresso grounds can be really finicky.... small adjustments can make a huge difference, hence the price difference. Plunged coffee is more forgiving with grind size.

    Your cup is probably too big unless youre pulling double shots. FWIW I generally (for myself) dont go over a cup bigger than 220 ml for milk drinks.... (and I usually pour doubles into that too).... Try a double shot into that 300ml cup, and you may see a difference. Its subjective though, and purely personal taste.

    Youve got a machine that is totally capable of pulling some great shots though - PROVIDED you have a grinder to match and fresh coffee.

    Hope that helps mate.

  9. #9
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Wow thanks for the responses guys. You know it only JUST hit me how big the cup size was. Here I was using a single basket :S. The manual is saying one shot for cups around ~195ml and here I am with a 300 mL cup. To be honest, I hadnt measured it until just now when I was asked how big it was.

    Yeah I only realised how much grinders were when I started looking through this site and saw a minimum grinder was 190 bucks heh.

    Im located in Cherrybrook, Sydney which I guess is near Castle Hills, Pennant Hills, Dural etc. Gotta look into some local coffees.

    Thanks again for all the responses. I think its time to try the double basket.

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Quote Originally Posted by bugsy2126 link=1226966810/0#8 date=1226971392

    Im located in Cherrybrook, Sydney which I guess is near Castle Hills, Pennant Hills, Dural etc. Gotta look into some local coffees.
    Yeah I guessed that from your postcode (2126) ;)

    Check out CS member NUNU or Wine Of The Bean in the search. Anthony lives in Carlingford and Im sure hell happily supply you with the goods.... (sorry if I just volunteered you Nunu ::))

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Cool, good to know where to get some good beans.

    One last thing, what is the difference between a double basket, single basket, single shot and a double shot (with the 6910 its a picture of one cup and a picture of 2 cups). If I want to make a 50-60 mL shot do I just use the single basket with a double shot (2 cups)? Or double basket with one shot?

    Oh man, I confuse myself.

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    haha, yeah double basket, with the 2cup button....into one cup hehe. Better still, if you use the Manual button to start and stop the flow before it starts oozing blonde overextracted bitterness... unless thats how you roll.

    I used a 6910 the other night at a friends place, and I found updosing (cramming more coffee than the recommended 14g) into it works best for this machine. Almost cram as much in as you can before the dry coffee puck rubs on the screen and you cant get the portafilter handle in. Theres heaps of threads though on this machine, thatll describe it better than me.

  13. #13
    mwatt
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    I dont know about the buttons on the 6910, but definitely use the double basket ;)

  14. #14
    mwatt
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Beat me to it, Dan ;)

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    I always thought the blonde stuff was the crem or creme or something and was important to a coffee. Oh so much to learn :(

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Quote Originally Posted by bugsy2126 link=1226966810/0#8 date=1226971392
    Yeah I only realised how much grinders were when I started looking through this site and saw a minimum grinder was 190 bucks heh.
    You could get away with using the Sunbeam EM0450, which is the model down from the one recommended earlier - its functionally identical (same motor, burrs, etc), but its cheaper because it has a plastic body and fewer switches. The RRP is $159, so you should be able to get it for around $50 less than the more expensive Em0480, which is what is usually recommended around here as the absolute minimum entry-level grinder. If you cant come at spending this much for a grinder, you might hang off for a bit - occasionally people sell their sunbeam grinders in the second-hand section for around $100-120.

  17. #17
    mwatt
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Quote Originally Posted by bugsy2126 link=1226966810/0#14 date=1226973293
    I always thought the blonde stuff was the crem or creme or something and was important to a coffee. Oh so much to learn :(
    Kinda.

    Crema is important, but it should be more hazelnut/reddish-brown ... when it starts going a blonde/pale straw colour, youre extracting all the nasty bitter stuff, and it doesnt taste so nice ;)

  18. #18
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Yeah, youre kinda right there Chris. Theres blonde and then theres the clearer blonde which are the nasties.

    Give this a go and youll see:

    Catch the first 10-15 seconds of the pour into one glass, take it away, then catch the second 15+ seconds of the pour (let it run longer for a clearer ID) and youll see what I mean. Drink each one (I recommend the first cup first ;)

    And yes, oh so much to learn, good thing is it never ends mate. Definitely one of those, "More you learn, the more you realise you dont know" things.

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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    The "CUP" as a fairly standard measure for coffee is 120ml or 4 fl OZ so a double in 250 is about the right brew (subective) and is generally fine but a double in 300 depending on how you like it would be ok as well.

    NB: The standard metric cup is 250ml and bears no relationship to coffee cup size?

  20. #20
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Hi Bugsy,

    Did you buy the machine brand new recently? Sunbeam offers free courses with this particular model. I really recommend it as a good introduction in to making espresso.

    I think once youve taken the course, most of your questions will be answered and your coffee will almost certainly be of a half decent quality compared to your current results.

    Sign up online here: http://www.sunbeamcoffeeschool.com.au/

    -ACog

  21. #21
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Thanks everyone for the replies. Just a quick question, how does the double basket and single basket differ if one shot is 30 mL? Even with a manual poor its only a certain amount of liquid with both sizes right?

    With that sunbeam school ACog, I have bought it very recently, < a week, but nowhere is there any info about the lesson that came with the packaging for the machine. Is it just a hidden thing or do I need to have a special form?

  22. #22
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    bugsy,

    If you have your receipt, just go to the link I posted and youll be able to sign up from there. They hold the classes weekly on a saturday in most capital cities.

    Im suprised there was nothing in the store offering the free class. I noticed Myer and Good Guys had things around the place.

    If youre still unsure, theres a 1800 number under the lid where you pour water in to the machine. call the number and double check.

  23. #23
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    Re: Coffee troubles (weak)

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hi Chris,

    the general idea is that one shot produces 30ml of espresso so a double produces 60ml. *** That is providing your dose and tamping are correct and you are not getting blonding (mentioned above). Blonding gives a poorer (read bitter) taste than a shot that has not blonded.

    To help stop this you will also find a ristretto or double ristretto talked about here basically that is where a shot is cut off before full volume, this gives a better flavour (according to espresso drinkers) so a double ristretto may be only 30-40ml as an example.

    Off to school sounds like a good plan as the price is right and you live in a capital city. It was cheaper for me to kill a few kg of beans playing ;)



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